Getting along Lambton Shores style

Lambton Shores Councilor Doug Bonesteel (second from the left) sits in the gallery during a Lambton Shores meeting

Lambton Shores Councilor Doug Bonesteel (second from the left) sits in the gallery during a Lambton Shores meeting

Lambton Shores Councilor Doug Bonesteel couldn’t help but point out how council seems to be getting along better after a recent council meeting.

Politics has always been a rough and tumble business in Lambton Shores, with citizens taking their beefs to council frequently and in the most recent election actively campaigning for a slate of candidates with their views. And relations at the council table have been fractious over the last year as councilors debated the sewage treatment plant, appointed a new Ward 4 councilor and fired the CAO late in the year. Exchanges are often testy and in early January one councilor suggested it might be necessary to have an OPP officer at the meetings after citizens engaged in words in the parking lot after one particularly difficult meeting.

But on Jan. 28, council moved through its business quickly causing Bonesteel to point out at the end of the meeting that it was “the first time we voted together on every motion” suggesting the tone was improving.

But Bonesteel didn’t mention a terse exchange between the mayor and deputy mayor at the beginning of the meeting.

Mayor Bill Weber wanted to make it clear in the minutes of council that he did not pre-interview the candidates for Ward 4 Council. One of the applicants quit before the appointment was made saying it gave a sense of impropriety. Deputy Mayor Elizabeth Davis Dagg did not directly answer questions on whether she called to question the candidates but did defend the practice saying there was nothing preventing a councilor from doing that.

“At the last meeting of council Dec. 17 it says Mayor Weber indicated he had spoken with candidates before the meeting,” says Weber. “That’s misleading and not in proper context. It’s incomplete.”

But as he tried to get an amendment to the minutes Davis Dagg objected. “Are you suggesting there was anything wrong with talking to the candidates?” she asked. Weber said council had agreed there wasn’t.

“For you to suggest that now it not appropriate is misleading,” she shot back adding it was not inappropriate since there was not protocol. “You are not clearing it up, you are muddying it.”

“My integrity was questioned, so I wanted to add this to the minutes and clear this up.”

There was then a brief disagreement among councilors about whether a motion needed to be made to include the information in the minutes. Weber asked Davis Dagg to chair the meeting so he could make the motion and the pair briefly debated whether the mayor had to physically leave his seat. He did leave after a few moments of debate but councilors, felt it wasn’t necessary saying Weber’s concerns would be reflected in the minutes of that meeting.